• October 1, 2020 12:44 am

Reporting From Delhi

CHEF OF THE WEEK

BySharmila Chand

Nov 15, 2019

A Master Chef specialising in South Indian cuisine, Chef Vetri Murugan is well known for his talent and culinary skills. With over 12 years of experience in managing and leading the kitchens of popular restaurants and hotels across India, Chef  Vetri Murugan is currently shouldering the responsibilities as the Head Chef of Zambar, the coastal cuisine restaurant by Lite Bite Foods.

Chef Vetri Murugan began his career with brands like Chola Sheraton and Sterling Holiday Resorts. He has also spearheaded the South Indian cuisine vertical at Mahindra Holidays Resorts. He thoroughly enjoyed his stint as the Head Chef at the very popular restaurant — Kokum in Chennai.

Culinary brilliance aside, Chef Vetrimurugan is a voracious reader and after his restaurant, the library is his favorite place to spend time at. Traveling keeps him rejuvenated and opens a window to savour different cuisines as well. To keep fit and de-stress, Chef loves playing cricket in his spare time. With his rich experience in the industry in varied capacities, Chef Vetrimurugan aims to strengthen Zambar’s positioning as the must-visit restaurant for coastal cuisine in India.

In a candid conversation, he talks more about himself and his work:

Your philosophy on food?

Respect for fresh produce with creative recipes to offer a cuisine that is authentic, delicious and light, based on our earth’s treasures.

Your fav cuisine?

Chettinad cuisine.

Your idol?

Celebrity Chef  Vineet Manocha.  I love his style of preparation and presentation.In real life my celebrity cooking idol is my mother. We never agree on cooking techniques but her food always tastes better than mine anyway.

Your fav spice?

Cinnamon as for me it is a highly delicious spice.

Your hot selling dish?

Chettinad Chicken Biryani made with Chettinad spices & Seeraga samba Rice.

Lessons learnt in the kitchen?

Respecting employees, fellow workers, and customers is paramount to building a cohesive, productive team.

How do you like to de-stress?

Slow, deep breathing, even if it’s for only for a couple of minutes can dramatically decrease tension.

How do you define yourself?

An individual with a positive attitude.

What are you passionate about?

Learning something new every day.

Last meal on earth, what would you choose?

My mother’s  special fish curry.

recipe : Pineapple Curry

Ingredients

Pineapple                 250 gm

Onion                       80 gm

Tomato                     40 gm

Ginger                      4 gm

Green chilli                5 gm

Curry leaf                  5 leaves

Cinnamon 2 gm

Cardamom                1 gm

Fennel                      2 gm

Whole red chilli          2 nos

Turmeric powder       a pinch

Coconut milk             120 ml

Coconut oil               30 ml

Sugar                        1 gm.

Salt                          to taste

Method

  • In a large kadhai heat ½ tbsp coconut oil and saute cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel and red chilli
  • Add onion and saute till they shrink slightly. Do not brown the onions.
  • Add pineapple chunks, green chilli, ginger and turmeric.
  • Sauté for a minute
  • Furthermore, add 1 cup water, 1 tsp salt and few curry leaves. Mix well.
  • Cover and boil for 5 minutes or till pineapple is half cooked.
  • Add 2 cups coconut milk (thin consistency) and mix well.
  • Boil for 7 minutes or till pineapple is cooked completely.
  • Turn off the flame and add few curry leaves, ¼ cup thick coconut milk and 1 tsp coconut oil. Mix well.
  • Serve hot with idiyappam, rice or appam.